Support Protections for Human Trafficking Victims

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Target: Circuit Judge Rovner, United States Seventh Circuit

Goal: Encourage courts to provide protection to human trafficking victims.

Individuals who flee to the United States in order to escape human traffickers often face difficulty obtaining legal status; this is a problem that has to change. While it is possible for human trafficking victims (or those afraid of becoming victims) to eventually gain legal status and remain in the United States, it is not an easy endeavor.  The laws are complex and often prevent courts from adequately helping victims (and potential future victims) of human trafficking. Sign this petition to encourage courts to introduce case law that makes it easier for victims of human trafficking to remain in the United States.

The recent case of Cece v. Holder, decided by the Seventh Circuit, granted legal status to a woman who feared being subject to human trafficking. She had come to the United States illegally, and in order to remain in the country had to gain legal status in the form of “asylum status.” Asylum status is a legal protection given to refugees. The Seventh Circuit was reviewing a lower court decision that had held that victims of human trafficking (or people vulnerable to becoming victims of human trafficking) – should not be eligible for asylum status. By overturning this decision, the Seventh Circuit made it possible for the woman to remain in the United States instead of being deported to her home country, where she likely would have become a victim of human trafficking.


Dear Judge Rovner of the United States Seventh Circuit,

This letter wishes to commend you for the recent decision reached in Cece v. Holder. Human trafficking victims, often subjected to horrors beyond what we can imagine, face an unconscionable challenge in simply remaining in a country where they can avoid day-to-day persecution. If they lack legal status, victims of human trafficking are subject to deportation. This recent decision will create a monumental difference for individuals seeking a place where they can avoid the terrors of their home country.

The Seventh Circuit’s decision will obviously have the greatest impact on the states in this Court’s jurisdiction. However, the decision also has the ability to send shockwaves through the justice system, and affect other circuits’ decisions on similar issues. While not all circuits have held that human trafficking victims should be granted asylum status, they may soon change their minds.  The Seventh Circuit’s decision is hopefully the beginning of a new trend that enables victims of human trafficking to remain in the United States.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Sal Falco via Flickr

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